Management: Building Blocks for Change Management
- Robert Troy (TrueStar Petroleum) | Joe Kazen (Kazen Consulting Intl. LLC)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 40 - 41
- 2006. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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Whatever a project’s scope, most managers agree that “the devil is in the details.” Yet few take any positive action toward taking control of or changing that dynamic; instead, many managers avoid details in general. Taking the entire issue a step backward, some even suggest that detail-oriented management is not necessarily a good idea in the first place. But detail-oriented management impacts oilfield companies and includes a proven and scalable set of methods.
As with the business world at large, E&P companies require a defined set of outcomes, and to achieve desired outcomes consistently, a defined set of processes is required. That translates into a lot of details, but that is critical to achieving what every oil company should want: repeatable processes, consistent results, lowest unit cost of oil and gas, and the opportunity for continuous improvement.
If those positive gains sound appealing, why isn’t everyone aligned with this concept? The reasons are endless, including the lament that working out the details takes too long, is too difficult, and/or costs too much. Additionally, management is not charging ahead to leverage these proven approaches for a very basic reason: Dealing with change is difficult, and all kinds of individual and corporate inertia must be overcome. But the good news for management everywhere is that using simple building blocks can cut the challenge down to size. That is because only four layers are involved, with each layer building on the other. Plus, it is scalable to meet each company’s requirements.
However, management must see that change is necessary, top-down support must exist, a disciplined systematic cross-functional approach must be taken, and skilled resources must be in place to implement the new methodology. But how does management find and capture the benefits of taking a new approach? It involves leadership, communication, methodology, and skills, and it has four layers: context, node tree, money, and data.
Using definable layers allows a drill-down approach to success. In other words, the business value or need is the detail driver, and each layer is directly tied to the next, so it is all interrelated. First, the context layer both helps to identify the process boundary and provides a quick read on the process condition. In this layer, three types of knowledge are important toward moving ahead: the group agrees on scope, understands relationships and interdependencies, and reaches a consensus on details necessary to improve the complex problem.
Although information may be collected one-on-one, experience shows that the best approach is group discussion, for a couple of reasons. One, it provides a more robust view; and two, it lets group members get actively involved in analysis. Side benefits include a deeper and quicker analysis and buy-in. But each problem and each group is unique and must be assessed and addressed in terms of each respective case. Essentially, the context layer is a checkpoint or gate providing early warning of potential problems. For instance, if a solid consensus cannot be reached on the context model, the group should not go forward with analysis; that would be counterproductive.
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